Friday, December 16, 2011

Birth in Shackles

By Kristi Holsinger
This month women in this country will be giving birth to their children while their arms and legs are shackled to their beds. It seems impossible that such a barbaric practice would still be in place, but it is. Women in prison in most states routinely labor and deliver in restraints, increasing the risk of injury and reducing the likelihood of a positive birth experience. Interestingly, most of these women have committed non-violent offenses; many have had more than their share of trauma and difficult life circumstances. The practice is justified as men are often restrained during transports and medical procedures, but this custom is particularly idiotic as anyone who has given birth or observed a birth would know. The odds of a laboring women executing a successfully escape from custody are pretty remote.
This month one woman will give birth to her third child while her arms and legs are shackled. She, however, is NOT incarcerated. She will voluntarily choose this path to draw attention to this inhumane correctional procedure. Her name is Rebecca Brodie, an attorney and advocate who works on behalf of incarcerated women. She plans to use her own birth experience to draw attention to this horrible tradition via a documentary, Throwing Away the Key, to be released this coming spring.
To learn more about her story and how you can become more involved in this issue, please see the following links:

The Hate Crime Statistics Report – Gender-Motivated Violence

By Dr. Jessica Hodge, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology
As someone who studies hate crimes and teaches a class about the subject, I find myself anticipating every year the release of the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report.[1] In this report, the FBI provides a variety of statistics involving the types of hate crime incidences that occurred during the previous year, and the number of hate crime offenders and victims that were involved in these offenses. The statistics included within this report are the numbers submitted to the FBI from police agencies across the country. While these numbers do provide a national picture of the number and types of hate crime offenses that took place during the previous year, the FBI’s report is far from accurate. For example, not all police agencies across the country regularly report statistics to the FBI, and even with the agencies that do report statistics to the FBI, not all of these will include their hate crime statistics. Another problem with the FBI’s numbers is that most crimes go unreported to law enforcement and thus are not included within the final total. This occurs for a variety of reasons, but in the context of hate crimes, victims are often reluctant to report incidences for fear of retaliation or further victimization by the offender(s) or by police officers. This is substantiated by the fact that advocacy groups, such as the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project,[2] describe significantly higher numbers within their own reports since victims of hate crimes often feel more secure going to these organizations for assistance.
Even though I am aware of the flaws with the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report, I still look forward to seeing the report every year as this is the closest thing we have to official national statistics. As someone who studies the subject, I am always interested to see how the numbers have changed in comparison to previous years’ reports. For example, I can see what types of bias crimes are most common across the country, and whether the type of crime (e.g., property crime vs. violent crime) differs depending upon the type of bias motivation (i.e., whether the crimes were motivated by the victims’ race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.). However, this year, I am particularly anxious to see the report, so much so, that I have been checking the FBI’s website almost daily. Why do you ask? Well, good question!
Two years ago, on October 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). This law had gone through many revisions and encountered much resistance, but after ten years, the law was finally passed by Congress and signed by the President. This law, now two years old, provided several changes to the federal hate crime laws that existed at the time; yet, in my opinion, one of the most significant revisions was including the category of gender within this law. This was significant because prior to the passage of the HCPA, if a victim was targeted because of her gender, this would not be counted within the FBI’s report because the gender category was not included within the FBI’s definition of a hate crime. As someone who has studied the subject of gender-motivated hate crimes for almost ten years and recently published a book on the topic[3], this is a BIG deal. Now that the gender category is included within the FBI’s definition, this means that the category is now on the radar of local police departments. This a huge step toward finally recognizing the impact of gender-motivated violence and for acknowledging how these crimes are just as harmful as other types of bias crimes. While it may take time for police to fully understand how gender-motivated crimes are similar to other types of bias motivated crimes, this is at least a step in the right direction. The collection of statistics does not eliminate the problem, but statistics do inform policy and practice. And for this reason, I wait for the FBI to release this year’s report and wish a “happy anniversary” to the Mathew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

[1] For more information regarding the FBI’s report, see:
[2] For more information regarding the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, see:
[3] My book is titled Gendered Hate: Exploring Gender in Hate Crime Law. For more information, see:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Welcome Back CJC Students!

Greetings to all students, new and old, as well as faculty, staff, and interested members of the community...
It's that time of year again! I'd like to welcome all new, transfer, and existing students to UMKC and the CJC Department for another fun-filled year. Classes begin one week from today on August 22nd! Hopefully, everyone is as excited for the school year as all the faculty appear to be.

I wanted to provide some information for all interested parties, since the beginning of a school year can be somewhat hectic. We have a lot going on in the CJC Department over the next few months, and we encourage all students to participate in each of the upcoming events that is on the horizon.

First things first, however... If you are a new, transfer, or current student in need of advising, please be sure to schedule an appointment with a CJC advisor. We're here to help you... to make sure you're on-track with your degree program or to help you pick classes for upcoming semesters! Don't hesitate to contact the CJC Department or me (Dr. Will Stadler) to schedule your advising session. Or, contact us if you just need more information about CJC-related "stuff"!

On to more interesting things... Below, I am including a preliminary schedule of some of our upcoming events, so mark your calendars:

  • CJC Department BBQ and Open House 
    • When? Friday, August 26th from 12:30 to 2:30
    • Where? CJC House located at 5215 Rockhill Road (across from the parking garage)
    • Why? Come learn more about the CJC program, meet other CJC students and faculty, and enjoy some FREE FOOD and DRINKS!!!
    • All students are welcome, so bring your friends!!
  • First meeting of the CJC Club - All majors are welcome!!
    • When? Tuesday, August 30th at 5pm
    • Where? CJC House located at 5215 Rockhill Road (across from the parking garage)
    • Why? Beome involved in a social club that is focus on criminal justice activities. No dues or applications required.
    • For more information, see
  • Informational meeting for Mu Mu, the UMKC Chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society
    • When? Wednesday, August 31st at 1pm
    • Where? CJC House located at 5215 Rockhill Road (across from the parking garage)
    • Why? Learn more about becoming a member of Mu Mu, an organization that is both socially and academically oriented.
    • For more information, see
  • APA Style & Research Workshop
    • When? Wednesday, September 7th at 1pm
    • Where? Miller Nichols Library, Room 121
    • Why? Dr. Hodge will discuss how to properly use APA Style with your writing assignments, and Ms. Angolia, the criminal justice librarian will discuss how to effectively conduct research at the library.
  • CJC Career Expo
    • When? Wednesday, October 26th from 11am to 1pm
    • Where? Pierson Auditorium, University Center
    • Why? Representatives from a variety of criminal justice and social service agencies will be available to discuss internship and career opportunities as well as the best ways to prepare for careers in their field.
  • CJC Alumni Night
    • When? Thursday, November 10th from 6pm to 9pm
    • Where? Chancellor's Residence, 5106 Cherry Street
    • Why? Network with graduates of UMKC's CJC program and learn what they are now doing with their degrees. 
    • Free food and drink will be available.
Along with the start of school, these events should keep us busy for awhile. However, if there is an event you would like to see or a suggestion you have for the CJC Department, please feel free to drop us a line! We welcome your input!

As always, I will try to keep students updated about any new events or happenings in the department.

Enjoy what's left of the summer!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CJC Events Calendar is Up and Running!


Today, I finally finished work on the new CJC Events Calendar, which is now live on our CJC website. There are several ways to access the calendar of upcoming events:
  1. You can peruse the dept. homepage calendar and click on any date that is highlighted in blue to see what cjc events are scheduled for that day:
  2. You can click on the 'Events' link on the left-hand side of the dept. homepage to go directly to our expanded events calendar page. This page lists all upcoming events, in addition to providing a detailed description of each event:
  3. You may also see the full UMKC event calendar at: . From there, you can also see any cjc events that have been listed on the UMKC calendar page.
Be sure to check this calendar often for any events related to the CJC Department, as well as student organizations that are sponsored by the CJC Department (Criminal Justice Club or National Criminal Justice Honor Society). We will post meetings, guest-speakers, films, various events, information about the CJC career expo, and anything else that may be pertinent.

If any students, faculty, staff, or community members wish to notify the CJC department of any upcoming events that may be appropriate for our calendar, I encourage you to submit those events/requests to our department at or . If we find it to be suitable for our calendar, we may post it!

As always, comments or suggestions about the site or blog are encouraged!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New CJC Website...

So, after spending some much needed time learning how to modify a website and mustering up the courage, I've finally made some major changes to the Criminal Justice and Criminology website. The department (or at least a few of us) wanted to add a little pizzaz and more informative content to the website. Hopefully, we've accomplished this goal. Some of the changes we've made include:
  • A rotating photo slideshow on the department homepage. These photos, which are subject to change throughout the year, will document university/department/student events, as well as general themes/issues related to criminal justice and criminology.
  • Links (from the department homepage) to our department facebook page, as well as our department blog. These have been added to broaden our communicative efforts directed at students, as well as members of the community and/or justice system agencies that have an interest in criminal justice related topics.
  • Additional (and more specific) content regarding our BA and MS degree programs. Our goal here is to target existing or potential students. By providing them with more comprehensive information about our department and what they can do with a BA/MS degree, we are hoping to promote interest in the program and offer another avenue for recruitment and retention of students.
  • In advising CJC undergrad students, I've found that many have interest in participating in field internships as part of their BA degree program. In this regard, I felt it was important to provide more information about internship opportunities, as well as various resources with respect to internships. Many students don't seem to know where to turn for help, who to turn to, or they don't know what to look for. As a result, I created a separate 'Internship' page that provides students with information and resources about internships in criminal justice and criminology.
  • Similarly, I created a new 'Career' page to provide students with information related to careers in three of the most common areas of criminal justice and criminology; law enforcement, courts, and corrections. This page includes links to local, state, federal, and private employers, as well as information about careers that may result from obtaining a BA or MS in criminal justice and criminology.
  • We've also updated our 'CJC Department News' page to include news/updates about a) students in our program, b) faculty in our department, or c) miscellaneous materials.
  • A new page was also created  called 'Student Involvement'. This page contains information about our CJC Club. This student-run organization arranges and sponsors various events, guest speakers, movies, field trips, etc. related to criminal justice and criminology. The page also contains information about student participation in our local chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society (MuMu). Students who are interested in becoming a part of this chapter can find relevant information or links to department advisors here.
  • Finally, I've created a new page called 'Events'. While this page is not yet up and running, it is in its final development stages. In this regard, our website will soon have a calendar embedded which will display all upcoming CJC events. Look for this to be implemented in the next few weeks.

As a final word on our website, I encourage any and all who are interested to ask questions, provide comments, or make recommendations about our CJC website. Peruse and enjoy... then let us know what we can do to make the site better.

Thanks for visiting!